LAPT Mar del Plata: The Stars Align
Cards went in the air moments ago here on Day 1B of the LAPT Grand Final and though there isn't quite the media circus that we witnessed 24 hours ago when Boris Becker sat down to play, the room is filled nearly to capacity with Latin American poker's best and brightest. Though yesterday Becker was the target of nearly every lens in the room, today those honors go to newly minted Team PokerStars Pro Leo Fernandez, but for a very different reason.
We caught up with this hand on the Q♥T♠6♠ flop, the pot raised and reraised pre-flop judging by the amount of chips already in the middle. Fernandez bet 1,300 and his opponent came in for a min-raise to 2,600. Fernandez stacked up the rest of his chips and slid them into the middle, earning an insta-call. Fernandez turned up Q♣T♣, having cracked his opponent's A♣A♦ by flopping top two pair. Alas,his hand wouldn't hold up for long, the 6♥ falling on the turn to make his opponent aces up. The K♠ hit the river and after the stacks were counted down, Fernandez was left with two chips and a chair, a scant 1,100 fichas to his name.
Sitting to Fernandez's left is another familiar face on the LAPT, Argentinian native Veronica Dabul. The always boisterous Vincenzo Giannelli is a few tables down, the LAPT Vina del Mar runner-up chatting away to his tablemates and celebrating even the small pots with outbursts of rapid-fire Spanish.
Gualter Salles, the legendary race car driver and Friend of PokerStars is stifling a few yawns today and for good reason. Last night, he made the final table of the turbo NLHE side event, finishing fifth in a final table that went on long after the Day 1A players bagged and tagged their chips.
Team PokerStars Pro is out in force on Day 1B, with Andre Akkari, Alexandre Gomes, Dennis Phillips, J.C. Alvarado, Joe Hachem, and Humberto Brenes flying the red spade high and mighty today. Joining the Costa Rican "Chark" are his brother Alex, himself a World Poker Tour champion, and his 18-year old son Roberto, whom we last saw making a deep run at the LAPT Vina del Mar.
Another poker-playing family in attendance today are Max and Maria Stern, WSOP bracelet winners both and the only married couple ever to do so. We've also spotted Jose Rosenkrantz, Carter Gill, Felipe Ramos, Ibuki Fukui, and APPT-Macau champion Eddy Sabat.
It's going to be a long day, folks. We'll be playing nearly eleven full levels today, the exact amount of time that ticked off the clock yesterday, leaving us with 27 Day 1A survivors. With roughly the same amount of starters today, we'll likely reach a similar number when play concludes at about 1 a.m. local time.